What could compare to the torture of a trapped and lost soul? What could compare to the horror of existing one step closer to complete decay? Welcome to the next level in death; welcome to ... See full summary »
Phil Davies Brown,
The past, present and future of the CubeSat microsatellite technology is explored, with a particular emphasis upon the efforts of venturing beyond our own world by the Center for Advanced Energy Studies by Idaho National Laboratory.
When they venture out into the nothingness and the first guy falls, the camera pans up and you can see where the glass is because as it comes up from "under ground" his feet are kind of broken. See more »
The following is a true story. The people are actual people. Their names are their actual names. Everything has been thoroughly researched and verified.
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After the ending credits roll we see Dave, Andrew, and Stan (their pet turtle) 10 years later. See more »
A Nice Evolution In Natali's Work, But A Little Underdeveloped
Director Vincenzo Natali first showed his penchant for character-based sci-fi flicks with his 1997 short film "Elevated", wherein 3 people remain trapped in an elevator while unseen monsters roam the building. His follow-up feature project "Cube", released later that year, had a very similar premise, this time with 6 people and instead of an elevator it was a vast expansion of interlocking cubic deathtraps. Both were admirable attempts to take the sci-fi genre a step further, by deliberately declining to show almost any visual stimulation, choosing instead to spend as much time as possible focusing on the human element, how the characters act, react and interact under incomprehensible and dangerous conditions. After his exploration into the mainstream with 2002's "Cypher", Natali has come back to his bizarre character-film trend to bring us "Nothing", his latest, and by far most optimistic and comedic take on the wide cinematic world of "What If?"
Dave (David Hewlett) and Andrew (Andrew Miller) are life-long friends, brought together by a mutual detachment from society and a lack of any one else to be with. Dave, who has always been hindered by a selfish and somewhat dimwitted nature, lives rent-free with Andrew at his ill-located and ill-constructed house, where he often takes advantage of Andrew's neurotic and antisocial mentality. Despite all this, the two misfits are happy together, until one day their deep character flaws, coupled with some astronomically bad luck, land them in the middle of some pretty serious, jail-sentence-worthy trouble. On top of this, they discover that their house has been deemed unfit for existence and is scheduled to be demolished before sunset, so in the hazy, nightmarish panic of everything going wrong for them, they wish that the whole world would just disappear. And it does.
Going any further with the synopsis would compromise a lot of the film's slow (occasionally too slow) reveal about what's happened to Dave and Andrew, and how they deal with their new reality. Natali's fascination with studying human behavior under duress (ala The Birds) is here in spades, but simply by making the main characters friends rather than strangers, he's able to break away from the thriller-horror element of this premise to open it up to a more comfortable and optimistic level. It's almost as if he's made the aphoristic opposite of "Cube".
Of course, the film is not 85 minutes of laughter and sunshine. In keeping with fundamental realism, our two anti-heroes' dynamic often becomes antagonistic, sometimes with rather nasty results. Like the "Desert Island" game, the film looks at how even best friends, when left alone together, can fall apart, but at the same time it shows that friends are vital to the quality of existence. In a very twisted, sci-fi way, this is a feel-good flick, with good heart and good intentions.
However, there are a few qualms to be had with "Nothing". While the two lead actors, Hewlett and Miller, do well with their parts, their characters are not nearly as interesting as they should have been, considering it is completely up to them to entertain us for the better part of an hour. There is some development in the relationship and personalities of Dave and Andrew, some background is given, but ultimately not enough. A generous viewer will sit through the less-engaging portions of the film to see it through to the end, but cynics will probably give up pretty fast.
Acting, as mentioned, is adequate, and considering the amount of 'green-screen' work that would've been needed, reasonably convincing. David Hewlett and Andrew Miller, who both wrote co-wrote the screenplay, have been long-time friends of Vincenzo Natali: Hewlett has in fact featured in every film Natali has made. Perhaps it was their creative input that steered this film in a more positive direction. Nonetheless, the story could have been a lot more involving. Granted, it is relatively entertaining considering that (no pun intended) nothing really happens, but you get the impression that, in more experienced hands, a lot more could've been done with this premise.
In all fairness, "Nothing" is an impressive piece of work in many ways. The concept is interesting, the direction is inventive, the script works on a human level and, most of all, it shows a progression in Natali's creative mentality. For fans of his work, this will be a delight, and for others it will be a nice way to pass a little unwanted time. It's just a shame that the director's fixation on human drama prevented it from being the great, fun film it could have been.
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